Nearly three years after Jussie Smollett was accused of falsely reporting a racist, homophobic attack directed toward him in Chicago. On Thursday December 9th a jury found Jussie Smollett guilty on five of six felony disorderly conduct charges.
The jury deliberated for just over nine hours Wednesday and Thursday after a roughly one-week trial.Smollett told Chicago police on Jan. 29, 2019, that he was attacked by two men in the street, who yelled slurs at him, put a noose around his neck and said, “This is MAGA country.” The police aggressively investigated the case, only to announce three weeks later that it was a hoax, and that Smollett had paid $3,500 to two men Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo to stage the attack.
Both brothers testified at the trial, telling jurors that Smollett had taken them on a “dry run,” given them money to buy supplies, and told them to hit him but “not too hard.”Smollett testified that he was the victim of a real hate crime, telling jurors “there was no hoax.” He called the brothers “liars” and said the $3,500 check he wrote them was for meal and workout plans.
His attorneys argued that the brothers attacked the actor who is gay and Black because they are homophobic and didn’t like “who he was.” They also alleged the brothers made up the story about the attack being staged to get money from Smollett, and that they said they wouldn’t testify against him if Smollett paid them each $1 million.
On Wednesday, a prosecutor told jurors there was “overwhelming evidence” that Smollett staged the attack, then lied to police about it for publicity. His defense attorney said prosecutors’ case was based on lies. Smollett could face up to three years in a prison. but experts have said if convicted, Smollett would likely be placed on probation and ordered to perform community service.